BOSS Steve Kittrick admits Guiseley are in a “sticky situation” in search of a Blue Square North play-off place, but even with AFC Telford approaching the Lions boss is refusing to panic.
The Leeds outfit have been a revelation following last season’s promotion from the Evo-Stik League Premier Division but Tuesday night’s 2-1 loss to visiting Vauxhall Motors made it just one point from Guiseley’s last two league games.
Third-placed Telford – essentially a sleeping non-league giant under boss Andy Sinton – are tomorrow’s visitors and Kittrick feels minor tweaks to his Lions side could be necessary to revive their promotion push.
Guiseley’s play-off destiny remains firmly in their own hands, the Nethermoor outfit are fifth in the league and with games in hand on both Telford and fourth-placed Boston United.
However, Kittrick concedes his men need to return to winning ways pronto and hopes they can rediscover the cutting edge that has been missing of late to see off the Bucks.
“We had a conversation the other night and we are in a bit of a sticky situation at the minute,” Kittrick said.
“We went to Harrogate for a local derby and drew 0-0 as we had no real end product. Then we lost out to Luton in the Trophy, despite having about 80 per cent of the game in the first half and about 70 per cent in the second.
“Then we’ve done the same thing the other night. You look at it and maybe we just need to make one or two changes as we’re having a bit of a sticky time and we’ve got a massive game at the weekend.
“But, at the same time, we know we’re not far off and it’s not like we are not playing well.
“We’re not doing much wrong and we just need that little bit of a spark and more of an end product.”
It took until the 68th minute for Guiseley to find an end product on Tuesday evening through a James Walshaw strike, by which time the Lions were 2-0 down after a brace from Vauxhall’s Obi Anorou.
Kittrick’s outfit then hit the woodwork several times in search of an equaliser but the visitors held on for all three points. Guiseley’s Steve Drench was also shown a straight red-card for a late lunge and the keeper is now suspended for the forthcoming Workington game.
Kittrick felt his men were desperately unlucky to be beaten and remembers a similar tale in last November’s 1-0 loss at Telford and is calling for his side to come out on top in the only stat that matters – goals scored.
“We went to Telford earlier in the season and lost 1-0 and afterwards their manager came up and said how well he thought we’d played and that they’d basically nicked it 1-0,” Kittrick added.
“He said he thought we were the far better side and that was nice of him to say, especially with him having been in the professional game, but we still lost 1-0 and we’ve got to be smarter and I’ve got to be smarter as a manager.”
Kittrick also concedes Tuesday night’s loss probably washed away any hopes of chasing the Blue Square North title – hot favourites Alfreton are now five points clear of Guiseley with two games in hand – but the Lions boss is backing his side to knuckle down and seal a memorable season with a top-five finish.
“You look at it on paper, with what’s happening, and there’s only one team that’s going to win it and that’s Alfreton,” he said. “We’ve got to play them twice but they are going to have to fall off a lot not to win the league.
“We’ve got some difficult games coming up – we’ve basically got to play all of the top eight – so it’s going to be tough, but the wheels have not come off. We just need that end product and that’s not necessarily blaming the strikers.
“We’ve also got a run of about five home games coming up and that’s going to be crucial.
“Last Saturday did take a lot out of us but we’re running a small squad – we’re not like Alfreton who have a big squad of about 26 or 27 players.
“We are running on about 18 but there’s no excuses – we’ve got ourselves into this position and it’s up to us to make the most of it and we’ll have to be strong mentally as well, like we were last year.
“Everyone will be very disappointed if we don’t get in the play-offs, but that’s obvious.”